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Love in the time of Corona

21 April 2020

The Covid 19 pandemic is keeping peope around the planet away from work and school, sitting at home, twiddling our thumbs and wondering where this new reality will lead us.

The mysterious Edwin Drood makes a rare and timely appearance, to tell a tale of an illness that withered a land, probably not so long ago or too far away.

A fable for our times, Drood's The Lender of Last Resort tells of a dread epidemic, an impoverished population, an aged usurer, a jaded priest, a small girl and a piece of paper that changes everything.

"A small thing can change destinies: a horseshoe, some loose gravel, a quarter sovereign – but a piece of paper can change them the most. And it is strange indeed how such a document may alter not only the future, but also the past."

Spoiler alarm: the story has a neat twist and a happy end. Light at the end of a seemingly endless tunnel. Stop twiddling your thumbs, and enjoy a good read.

The Lender of Last Resort at Edwin Drood's Column.

The Lender of Last Resort at Edwin Drood's Column

The Lender
of Last Resort

Edwin Drood's Column
The Gorgon pediment in Corfu, Greece at My Favourite Planet People

The Kaiser and the Gorgon

The Gorgon pediment in Corfu

September 2019   The green island of Corfu once played an important role in the economic and political rivalries between ancient Greek cities. Today the cultural leftovers of the island state's heyday can be seen at a handful of sites and in the main town's museums.

In December 1910 local people discovered some ancient stone remains on farmland south of modern Corfu town, and in January 1911 the young Greek archaeologist Friderikos Versakis was called in to investigate. He excavated what turned out to be huge, powerful relief images of the Gorgon Medusa flanked by two lions which once adorned the gable of a large temple, built around 585 BC.

Soon after Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany arrived in Corfu to spend his Easter holiday in the nearby Achilleion, a summer palace he had purchased after its builder and previous owner, Kaiserin Elizabeth ("Sissi") of Austria, had been assassinated in Geneva. Having heard of the excavation he went to visit the site and ended up using his power, wealth and influence to take it over and get Versakis fired from his job. The Kaiser apparently became obsessed with the Gorgon, later claiming the credit for its unearthing, and after the First World War wrote a book on the subject while in exile in the Netherlands.

The episode has been seen as a prime example of cultural imperialism and interference by powerful rulers and states in the affairs of smaller countries. Fortunately, the "Gorgon pediment", as the limestone relief has become known, was not shipped off to the Kaiser's royal museum in Berlin, and is now the star attraction of the Corfu Archaeological Museum.

Read The Gorgon pediment in Corfu in Gorgon Medusa Part 3, at My Favourite Planet People. The illustrated article covers the pediment's history and rediscovery as well as the archaeology of the temple site.

Update May 2020

The Gorgon Medusa page in the MFP People section has been growing in content since 2016 and was becoming far too large. It has now been divided into 8 parts on 8 pages, arranged thematically, with articles about the Gorgon illustrated with over 300 photos and drawings. Start at Gorgon Medusa Part 1.

Squirrels occupy Cheshire

13 December 2016

Things have been pretty quiet at MFP Blogs this year: Edwin Drood has been on an extended sabbatical since July, and the Cheshire Cat hasn't appeared at all - not so much as a grin in sight.

Luckily, a gang of squirrels have come to the rescue. Silke Haist has kindly contributed some of her photos of Berlin wildlife in the form of irresistible fluffy red rodents.

We invited the stars of the show to the MFP HQ for the launch of the December edition of The Cheshire Cat Blog. Big mistake! The wee pests have taken over the place and refuse to leave. The office furniture is scratched to bits, the air is full of squirrely screeching and Chipmunks music, and filing cabinets and desk drawers have been requisitioned as nests and hoarding places. There'll be hell to pay when they find out that we've run out of nuts.

Squirreling about at The Cheshire Cat Blog.

Squirreling about at The Cheshire Cat Blog

Squirreling about

The Cheshire Cat Blog

Even more people on the planet

23 July 2016 - updated 12 December 2016

Back in November 2011 we announced the start of the My Favourite Planet People section, MFP People, with brief profiles and images of well-known personalities, historical, fictional and mythical, who appear in articles on this website. This, the Editor told the over-worked staff, would save the effort of having to explain who they were every time their names were mentioned.

Naturally, we soon discovered that this actually meant a lot more work rather than less: each profile has to be researched, written, illustrated, sorted, programmed, linked... What a palaver!

Nevertheless, the manacled menials of our Factual Verification Department (a.k.a. Room 101) have finally returned several of these profiles to the Editor as fit for publication. There are now 25 People profiles online, with another 80 in the editoral pipeline (i.e. in a cupboard somewhere).

And, as if all that was not toil-and-tears enough, we have also begun yet another new work-in-progress: a detailed list of Ancient Greek Artists.

People on My Favourite Planet

Alexander the Great at My Favourite Planet People

Alexander the Great

MFP People

The Gorgon Medusa at My Favourite Planet People

Gorgon Medusa

MFP People

Bentley does it

6 July 2016

For all those of us gushy romantics who believed that Edwin Drood and Miranda were inseparable, it will come as a great kick in the corduroy pants to learn that he is now smitten with a certain Aja. Who she, we may well ask, and what has she to do with the mysterious illness Drood calls "the Bentley Decimation Syndrome", which appears to have led to the disappearance of over 2000 British luxury automobiles?

The Bentley Diaspora at Edwin Drood's Column.

The Bentley Diaspora at Edwin Drood's Column

The Bentley Diaspora

Edwin Drood's Column
My Favourite
Planet Blogs

The Cheshire Cat Blog - travel articles, photo essays and videos at My Favourite Planet Blogs

Cheshire Cat

Edwin Drood's Column - the blog by The Mysterious Edwin Drood at My Favourite Planet Blogs

Edwin Drood's
MFP People

Guide to Planet Earth at My Favourite Planet

Guide to
Planet Earth
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